For those teaching the modules as an entire course, we provide a capstone summary assessment activity. This activity is designed to incorporate scaffolding of the material, to use the gained knowledge to do systems-thinking, and to facilitate reflection on what the students learned. The assignment follows:
Congratulations on having completed all eleven modules! Now is the time to put together that body of knowledge and experience to produce a useful product. You have just been hired by the town/city nearest to campus as a community planner. Your job is to design a sustainable community that will be built on a large section of the city that was leveled in a massive urban renewal project. This new planned community will have housing, places to eat and shop, light industry, a school, recreation center, and park. This will be a complete neighborhood. Know that all of the infrastructure will also be replaced; this means utilities (electricity, water, sewage) and roads.
Part I — Planning a Sustainable Community
Your job is to develop a plan (this could be a written document, a PowerPoint presentation, a video or some other medium. Be creative!) for this sustainable community addressing the technologies you learned about in each of the modules 2–11. For each technology you must:
- State the technology.
- Determine if the technology is appropriate to use in your town/city. Be sure to provide evidence to explain your conclusion and reference data (like maps of solar and wind resources) to support your position.
- Explain how the chosen technologies will be used to achieve a sustainable community.
- Describe the socioeconomic (e.g., costs/benefits, health effects) implications of the technology.
- Show how each technology will be linked to at least two of the other technologies.
- When you show the linkages (in question 5) do so in a systems-thinking way. This should include pointing out positive and negative feedback loops, and how changes to one part of the community mediated by a technology will drive changes to other parts of the community.
Part II — Reflection
- After completing the above, write a paragraph reflecting on how you think this course has affected your views on (a) your energy use and (b) community sustainability.
GREENS Capstone Summary Assessment Rubric1
The capstone activity is designed to incorporate scaffolding of the material, to use the gained knowledge to do systems-thinking, and to facilitate reflection on what the students learned. It could be a written plan, an oral or a PowerPoint presentation, a video, or the activity could use some other medium. This rubric is designed to assess the content of the capstone activity.
The following will clarify some of the terms used in this rubric and instructor expectations:
Appropriate evidence: We expect students to provide appropriate or correct evidence that supports their responses in this assignment. In question two (see above), for example, students should provide facts and/or citations that would support their decision to incorporate (or not) solar PV panels into their sustainable community plan.
Appropriate links between technologies: In question five (see above), we expect students to provide appropriate or correct links between different technologies. The student should examine how the different technologies might complement or conflict with one another. For example, the student could consider how space used for ground-source heat exchange might be occupied on the surface by another alternate energy strategy (e.g. PV panels). Alternately, the use of Trombe walls to decrease heating costs might increase costs for interior lighting. The objective is for students to present an integrated plan that incorporates multiple technologies.
Systems-thinking: We expect the students to demonstrate an understanding of a system (natural or human-made), its parts, and how those parts interact through different feedback loops (positive and/or negative).
GREENS Capstone Summary Assessment Rubric
|CATEGORY||4 = exemplary||3 = accomplished||2 = developing||1 = beginning|
|Part I - Planning a Sustainable Community|
|1. Was at least one technology from each module addressed?||More than 7 technologies addressed||5 to 6 technologies addressed||3 to 4 technologies addressed||0 to 2 technologies addressed|
|2. Was appropriate evidence used to support or discard each technology?||The evidence provided is presented with depth and effectively supported with facts and detailed/engaging examples.||The evidence provided is supported with appropriate facts and examples.||The evidence provided is not supported by the facts or examples given.||The evidence provided is unclear; facts, examples, and details are lacking or fail to support decisions.|
|3. Did the student show how the technologies will be used to achieve a sustainable community?||The answer is in-depth and effectively supported with facts and detailed/engaging examples.||The answer is supported by correct facts and examples.||The answer is not supported by the facts or examples given.||Provides little evidence of how the technology helps sustain the community.|
|4. Did the student describe the socio-economic implications of their chosen technologies?||The answer is in-depth and effectively supported with facts and detailed/engaging examples.||The answer is supported by correct facts and examples.||The answer is not supported by the facts or examples given.||Provides little evidence of the socio-economic implications of the technology.|
|5. Were there appropriate links drawn between the technologies, with each technology being linked to at least two other technologies?||Links developed between one technology and three or more other technologies demonstrating integration.||Links developed between one technology and two other technologies demonstrating integration.||Links developed between one technology and another technology are appropriate but lack integration.||The links between one technology and another technology are inaccurate and lack integration.|
|6. Did the student display systems-thinking when addressing how these technologies would work together in the sustainable community?||Feedbacks (both positive and negative) are identified and described using engaging examples.||A feedback (positive or negative) was identified and described using appropriate examples.||A feedback (positive or negative) was identified.||Demonstrated systems-thinking in a basic way but not the system feedbacks and lacks examples.|
|Part II - Reflection|
|1. Did the reflection paragraph demonstrate that the student gave serious thought to the question and did it reveal any insights?||Reflects upon prior learning (inside and outside of the classroom) in depth to reveal significantly changed perspectives on how the course affected their views.||Reflects upon prior learning (inside and outside of the classroom) in depth, revealing fully clarified meanings or demonstrating broader perspectives on how the course affected their views.||Reflects upon prior learning (inside and outside of the classroom) with some depth, revealing slightly clarified meanings or demonstrating a somewhat broader perspective on how the course affected their views.||Reflects upon prior learning (inside and outside of the classroom) at a surface level, without revealing clarified meaning or demonstrating a broader perspective on how the course affected their views.|
 Based upon material from the VALUE Rubric Development Project (Association of American Colleges Universities)